All posts filed under: Labour & birth essentials

New VBAC guidelines

If you thinking about or planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) there is good news – the NICE guidelines have been updated and care for women in labour is no longer very restrictive. It has been a long time coming but this is brilliant and it means that women who have previously had a caesarean will be able to labour with more options. I am all about options and these new guidelines will hopefully provide women with more power to do what they need to do to work with their contractions and to manage their pain and their energy. I say hopefully because this guidance is not fixed, they are just recommendations but the more women know about their increased options, the more likely they are to ask for what they need.   The NICE VBAC guidance includes… Do not routinely insert an intravenous cannula for women in labour who have had a previous caesarean section. A cannula can be routinely used as part of the what-if management of a VBAC, so this is …

Why giving birth might not be what you expect…

TV images have a lot to answer for and we have built up an expectation of a bed and stirrups and pushing until we are red in the face. Birth can be like this but it is certainly not the norm. I use images in my antenatal classes to provoke some discussion and a lot of parents are quite surprised at what real birth can look like – in pools, standing, kneeling, using upright positions on a bed. Even lying on your side after an epidural will probably be more effective than lying on your back. Labour and birth is often about going with what feels right and what is more comfortable for you. However, exhaustion after a long labour can affect how involved you are – by that point, birth could be about lying on a bed because you are struggling to find the physical and emotional energy to do anything else. But where there is energy and good support, there can be different positions and use of gravity and lying down really might …

antenatal classes pregnancy and birth labour and birth newcastle and tyneside

Pregnancy & Birth – how and why to use your breathing…

Breathing can be an effective way to stay calm, to have more energy, to have some more control, to work with your contractions and enable your body to work more effectively BUT what does that mean? We can all breathe, so why do we need to know how to breathe for labour and birth? I have focused on Relax & Breathe for the past 10 years and I have seen how relaxed breathing has made a difference to how women feel in pregnancy, as well as how it can affect how they feel and work with their contractions during labour. My practice is all about keeping it simple – you don’t need to learn a new way to breathe, it is all about slowing down your breathing and learning to switch off and to focus on just breathing. To be able to relax and focus on your breathing, it can also help to know what to expect: to know what your body needs to do in labour and birth and to know what is going on …

What do labouring women need?

Labour will always fascinate me – just how different it can be, how different each individual woman can feel and handle those contractions and the different support a woman might need. I have seen women roar during their labour – they have come to life with their contractions and can labour with very little hands-on support, just having the right people in the room has been enough. I have seen women need support with every contraction, from mild labour and right through to pushing out their baby. I have seen women need their partner by their side at all times. I have seen women need their partner to be far far away from them. I have seen women accept and embrace their contractions and I have seen women dread each one, only to feel relief with an epidural or a caesarean. I have seen women relax and feeling safe and less pain in water and I have seen women hate being in water, feeling too exposed. I have seen women who believe in their ability …